Harm Minimization, Responsible Gambling, and Pre-commitment in Australia: What do Club and Hotel Managers Think?

Anne McQuade, Peter Gill


Australian governments are committed to addressing problem gambling and reducing gambling-related harm. In line with responsible gambling ideology, the Victorian government is planning to legislate a system of voluntary, full precommitment into hotels and clubs that operate electronic gaming machines (EGMs, ‘‘pokies’’). Club and hotel managers have first-hand knowledge of gambler behavior and are responsible for implementing the legislated requirements supporting responsible gambling. Therefore, club and hotel managers are perceived to be in a unique position to comment on the effectiveness of government interventions designed to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling and gambling harm. The aim of the current study was to qualitatively investigate harm minimization, responsible gambling, and precommitment as viewed from the perspective of club and hotel managers of venues that have EGMs. The study was ideographic and phenomenological. Results suggest that club and hotel managers acknowledge that problem gambling is an issue for some of their customers, and they are supportive of voluntary forms of precommitment being introduced into their venues. However, they do not believe that the harm-minimization strategies introduced under the Responsible Gambling initiative have been effective in reducing problem gambling and gambling-related harm. These findings are placed within current policy and harm minimization theory with suggestions for moving forward.

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